Every business has at least one printer – but few businesses actually sit back and ask themselves:
“Just how much is this printer costing us?”
They all enjoy the benefits it provides but little thought is given to how much it costs the business on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Of course, for a single printer, the answer is most likely to be: “Not much”, but for a medium-sized business or large organisation with 50 or 100 printers, the costs can quickly accumulate and spiral out of control.
Having visibility of expenditure on printers, the types of printers in operation, and consumables such as paper, ink and toner (depending on whether the business has a laser printer) will help to identify areas for improvement and reduce operational costs.
In this blog, we’ll discuss auditing printing costs, as well as five ways businesses can save money on printing.
Conducting a print audit
The first step in any printer cost reduction strategy is an audit of the current operational environment; and it starts with how much it costs to print a single page.
- Calculate cost per page
An easy way to calculate the cost of printing a single page is to divide the price of an ink or toner cartridge by the number of pages the manufacturer says the ink or toner should cover. For example, if an ink or toner cartridge has a recommended yield of 500 A4 pages and costs £20, it would cost £0.04 per page.
For a more accurate assessment of cost per page, it would be best to record how many pages are printed each month and the cost of the ink acquired and use the same formula as above.
- Evaluate print needs and identify bottlenecks
Having determined the cost per page, the next step is a document needs assessment – this involves working out current print volume, printers being used, documents being printed, how many users within that printer group and if there are any issues. For example, if a department is printing 5,000 pages a month using an old, low-volume printer (which would mean a single print job takes far too long) it might be worth investing in a high-volume printer to get the job done faster. A high-volume printer will also be much more efficient and distribute ink across pages evenly.
- Which printers are being used and what documents are being printed?
Next, which printers are being used and what documents are being printed? Fact is that most will simply use the printer that’s assigned to their computer or device without even thinking about if the printer is a colour printer or laser printer. Using the right printer for specific jobs will help to preserve ink and ensure document quality. For instance, if a business’ marketing department often prints promotional assets with colour images, they would be best served by using a colour/ink-jet printer. A laser printer, on the other hand, is far better at printing documents that contain a lot of text.
- Reallocate resource for print groups
Finally, how many users are in a specific printer group? If certain users need access to a high-volume printer, they should be allocated to that print group (take the finance department, for example, they print invoices, contracts and other financial information on a daily basis, so they should have access to a laser printer). Print groups should be segmented depending on requirements (as outlined in the previous paragraph) to ensure a streamlined print environment. Lastly, administrators can use print groups to tag printers based on functionalities, so that everyone is aware of what printers do what!
What are the benefits of conducting a print audit?
Having carried out the above steps, businesses should have a clear understanding of cost per page, print needs, bottlenecks and resource allocation. With all of this information they can then revise their current print strategy to meet business requirements, reduce costs and improve performance. Old printers can be replaced with efficient MFDs, print groups can be reorganised so that the right teams have access to the most effective printers for their jobs, and administrators have an auditable trail of print performance for monthly reporting and expenditure.
How to save more money on printing:
1. Buy efficient printers
Don’t just buy any printer. Do some homework. A key consideration when purchasing an efficient printer is page yield – hypothetically, how many pages it can print with one ink cartridge. Newer printers have a far more streamlined printing process meaning they use less ink per page. Try to look for more modern printers and save money on printing in the long-term.
2. Outsource high-volume printing and only print what’s necessary
No need to print everything in house. Outsource high-volume printing to print houses to reduce costs and maximise efficiency. Particularly useful if a large number of documents need to be printed in very short periods of time.
3. Buy high-quality your print supplies in bulk
To ensure no delay in activities, businesses should enter an arrangement with a trusted supplier so that they receive consumables (ink, toner and paper) on a regular basis. Not only will they be able to access the discounts that come with purchasing supplies in bulk, it will also be easier to keep costs consistent.
4. Use energy-efficient printers
Modern printers are much more energy efficient and will consume significantly less electricity over their lifetime. Multi-functional devices, for example, can print, scan, photocopy and fax – far cheaper and will save money on printing.
5. Buy high-quality ink and paper
Don’t buy cheap. Take time to research the market and see what quality consumables are on offer. Low-quality paper is more likely to jam a printer (leading to wasted ink, paper and electricity) and cheap inks will deliver subpar quality. Instead, look for approved third-party inks and high-quality paper – they may be slightly costlier at the point of purchase but no problems will occur later down the line.
What else can you do to save money on printing?
Get an expert to conduct a print audit and manage and maintain your printers for you.
At DPS, we provide multi-site print management services and can help you to get your printers up and running and ensure they operate optimally over their lifetime. Our engineers are experts and just one phone call away.
We can manage your printers on a weekly basis to ensure that they do not fail you, and we can audit your current print environment and come up with recommendations for improvements and cost savings.
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